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EPA Fines Dredging Company for Discharging Rock in Unauthorized Areas

Release Date: 07/29/2004
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(#04122) New York, N.Y. -- The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken action against Bean Stuyvesant L.L.C, for violating the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA), commonly known as the Ocean Dumping Act, by discharging dredged rock in the Atlantic Ocean, outside of authorized areas on two occasions. As part of the NY/NJ Harbor Deepening Project Exit EPA disclaimer, the dredged rock was to be deposited at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Shark River Artificial Reef Exit EPA disclaimersite, located 15.6 nautical miles east of Manasquan, New Jersey. The proposed penalty for the two violations is $110,000.

"This material was meant to benefit the reef project, but due to poor judgement it never reached its destination," said Jane M. Kenny, EPA Regional Administrator. "EPA keeps a close eye on ocean disposal operations to make sure material is placed where it is supposed to go."

In December 2003, a barge loaded with approximately 3,600 cubic yards of dredged rock departed from Bergen Point in the Kill Van Kull headed for the Reef. Rough seas and high winds were forecast at the time of departure but the decision was made by Bean Stuyvesant to proceed. On the way to the reef, bad weather forced the crew to attempt a return to the NY/NJ Harbor. According to the company, rock shifted within the barge, eventually causing it to flip and dump the rock into the ocean at an undesignated site. Placement of the rock outside the Shark River Artificial Reef was a violation of MPRSA.

In the second incident, also in December, Bean Stuyvesant dumped 3,600 cubic yards of dredged rock material approximately a half mile north of the Shark River Reef. As the barge approached the site, the Tug Captain noticed that it was rapidly leaning to one side. To avoid possible sinking or flipping, he dumped the rock. An inspection of the barge, once it returned to harbor, revealed that the hull had been punctured, most likely when the rock was loaded.

EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have developed stringent placement guidelines and procedures that must be followed by all parties engaged in placement of dredged materials in the ocean pursuant to MPRSA. These incidents highlight the fact that it is imperative for barge operators to ensure mechanical soundness and seaworthiness of barges, as well as take serious consideration of weather conditions, prior to a barge departing the harbor.